Sunday, March 18, 2007

the night surf -- Oppose DRM

Amie Street is a new DRM-free (Digital Rights Management free) music vending website that shares the fee you pay, for mp3s and albums, 70-30 with the musicians who upload their work. The pricing is based on popularity. If the song you like was downloaded by tons of people then the price is high, if nobody downloaded the song you like, then it's practically free -- prices range from 1 to 98 cents per mp3.

Most of these songs are samples so listen and buy as much as you like. Jazz, not being especially popular goes for cheap on this site.

Unembedded Amie Street Player with Jazz songs here. Apparently, their embedded music player isn't ready for use on websites. Anyway, the sample songs were a bit too short for the easy listening experience.

What is it about the night that makes me so much better at surfing? I've found heaps of stuff that I've been interested in discovering for quite a while. I knew it was out there somewhere, I just didn't really have the mood to find it.

I've been riled by the whole DRM hoopla for a long time. So here is my rant, but first a little about DRM.

DRM is known as 'Digital Rights Management', also it's being called 'Digital Restrictions Management' by people who like being accurate. It's being used by the folk in the music industry to restrict what consumers can do with the music and videos that they buy online.

In Concrete Terms
If I buy a song online from Apple, I pay my 99 cents and then I download it to my desktop. Then it's mine right? Wrong. I only get to use it the way that Apple and the music industry allow. So, I can put it onto my Ipod, but not onto my Iriver. I cannot share it with my friends, and if I burn it to a cd and rip that cd to try and free it of the DRM, I degrade the quality of the song that I paid to download. I cannot put it on my laptop and I cannot use it on my phone. If I don't own an Ipod and my computer crashes, I have no backup of the song, and I have to buy it again.

Is it any wonder that people don't want to piss around with downloading music the legitimate way? So here it goes, here are a few links. I hope that this can contribute to the Oppose DRM camp.

This is a pretty good overview of the DRM movement and it's recent history.

Okay, honestly? I really don't know who Bono is. Please save your incredulity. Sure, I've heard the name and if he is a popular musician, as I suspect to be the case, then chances are I've heard several of his songs. If he isn't a musician then . . . I don't know who the heck he is.

But maybe he can help.

There's no lack of reading material and heaps of links for the interested party to find out about how to help rid the world of nasty anti-consumerist trends like DRM and tracking software that invades your privacy and make your private data very public.

Here you can find some interesting Canadian movements against DRM. Amazingly some artists have some sense and realize that beating the crap out of your fans, and selling them products that are heavily restricted makes the masses run, run away.

The likes of; The Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sum 41, Stars, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace), Dave Bidini (Rheostatics), Billy Talent, John K. Samson (Weakerthans), Broken Social Scene, Sloan, Andrew Cash and Bob Wiseman (Co-founder Blue Rodeo) actually back these two principles:

1. Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical
2. Digital Locks are Risky and Counterproductive

If you are thinking about buying music from a company that deals in DRM laced songs or videos this article should make you think twice.

  • emusic is the second biggest online music vendor because they sell DRM free songs that can be used on your Ipod!
I just joined up with these guys because right now they are offering 25 free songs for download and a 14 day free trial period. I was going to pass, but then I heard that Tom Waits offers his music through them!

Their download service is only on offer through subscription however. So, I doubt that I will be staying with them beyond the trial period. Their basic subscription is $9.99 a month for 30 downloads which makes the songs about 33 cents a piece but I doubt that I will even find 30 songs that I want to download.

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